In the state of North Carolina is it legal for a 26 year old to have sexual relations with a 17 year old?
1 attorney answer
In NC, the minimum legal age to consent to any kind of sexual contact is 16.
● Majority: A person becomes an adult at 18, the age of majority in most states. Exceptions are Alabama & Nebraska (19), and District of Columbia & Mississippi (21). Until then they are a minor (child), and their parents pretty much control their life, including whom they date. If the parents wish, they can report it to the police if someone interferes with their control. After reaching the age of majority, the new adult can date anyone, leave home against their parent's wishes, live where they want, associate with anybody they wish, pay their own bills and bail themselves out of jail.
● Sex and Dating a Minor: Dating a minor UNDER the age of consent -- without sexual contact -- is not illegal as long as the minor's parents/guardians are OK with it. Some state's laws allow minors who have reached the age of consent (16, 17, or 18 depending on which state) to legally engage in consensual sexual intercourse/contact with anyone the same age or older. And Romeo&Juliet exceptions might also apply. So dating -- with or without sexual contact -- a minor who is AT or OVER the age of consent is not illegal as long as the parents or guardians are OK with it. In either case, If they are not good with it, they could file police reports that result in charges of "Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor", "Interference with Parental Control" or something else (even Kidnapping) that might be appropriate in that particular state. They can also get a No Contact/Restraining Order/Order of Protection against the person. For example, In Mississippi, the age of consent is 16, but the age of majority is 21. A 20-year-old minor can legally consent to sexual contact. So with their parents' permission, it is perfectly alright. If the parents don't agree, they should wait until they are 21 to keep their lover out of trouble.
● Side note to the older person: Children often have "Romantic Love and Sex Fantasies" about their dates that they tell their friends or write down in a diary or journal. They may not be true, but can cause HUGE problems when parents find out about it and go to the police. Innocent guys are in prison because of stuff like this. Also, children often seek revenge when the adult drops them for another, and accuse them of rape.
● Sexting: Important Warning . . . If sexually suggestive photos of any person under 18 are taken and/or shared -- even if they are over the age of consent -- federal laws regarding production, distribution, and possession of Child Pornography come into play. There may be additional state laws that prohibit it, but the feds love to send child pornographers to prison.
● In general, to be completely legal, adults should not "date" minors.
● Creepiness: And one more thing: many people would consider dating between an "old" and "young" person to be "creepy". There is a rule of thumb is that it’s only OK to date a youngster who is over one-half the older's age plus seven years. This gives rise to the Creepiness Formula:
Dating someone that is past ½(the older's age) + 7 = Not Creepy and the reciprocal,
Dating someone that is younger than ½(the older's age) + 7 = Is Creepy.
According to the formula, it is not creepy for a 26-year-old to date a 20-year-old, but dating anyone younger is Officially Creepy, and implies that the older person is a CHILD MOLESTER.
PLEASE DO NOT PRIVATE MESSAGE ME with followup questions. Instead, you may make a comment below, which will be sent to me automatically. If you need an attorney to assist you, please search in your local area, or click the "Find a Lawyer" link at the top of the page. I am active on AVVO and answer questions only as a public service. I am an Attorney-at-Law, licensed to practice law only in the state of California. Unless we have both signed a formal retainer agreement you are not my client, and my discussion of issues does not constitute legal advice. Opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of those who hold other opinions.